Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

PowerPoint 2016 includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the PowerPoint 2016 layout

When you open a PowerPoint 2016 presentation or create a new one, the name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen. Because you are in Normal view, app controls such as Minimize and Close are in the upper-right corner. By default, the Quick Access toolbar resides at the upper-left side of the screen. This toolbar can be customized and contains commonly used commands, such as Save, Undo, Redo, and Start From Beginning.

Below the toolbar is a set of ribbon tabs, such as Home, Insert, Design, Transitions, Animations, Slide Show, and View. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs (JAWS calls it the "lower ribbon"). When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized into groups. For example, if you select the Insert tab, a ribbon appears. From that ribbon, you can pick different items, such as tables, pictures, shapes, or equations, to insert into your presentation.

Three panes appear below the ribbon. The Slides pane is on the left. It includes thumbnails of the slides or the text on your presentation slides. On the right is the active slide, and underneath that is the Notes pane. The lower-right corner of the screen contains View buttons and Zoom controls.

These toolbars, panes, and controls remain until you switch to a different view.

Navigate using the keyboard

To navigate in PowerPoint 2016 and to cycle through the screen landmarks, press F6. The landmarks are, in order:

  • The active slide

  • The buttons and controls in the lower-right corner

  • The top toolbar and ribbon tabs

  • The Slides pane

To cycle through the screen elements of the current landmark, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward). To select an item, press Enter. To browse within menus or lists, press the arrow keys, and then, to make a selection, press Enter. For example, you can switch between the text fields of the active slide by pressing Tab, or move between the slide thumbnails in the Slides pane with the Down and Up arrow keys. To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

Tip: To quickly move the focus to the first floating shape such as a text box or an image, press Ctrl+Alt+5. Then, to cycle through the floating shapes, press the Tab key. To return to the normal navigation, press Esc.

For more details, refer to Use keyboard shortcuts to create your presentation and Use keyboard shortcuts to deliver your presentation.

PowerPoint 2016 includes accessible names that can be read by screen readers as you work in the application. You can use Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, or a third-party screen reader, such as JAWS. For information on using PowerPoint 2016 with a screen reader, refer to Get started using a screen reader with a PowerPoint presentation.

Special considerations for PowerPoint 2016

To make the content easier to read and select, you can increase contrast or invert colors on your computer using the high contrast settings of Windows. To start using a high contrast theme quickly, press left Alt+left Shift+Print Screen, then press Enter to activate the high contrast theme.

Windows offers you several high contrast themes. To find the one that works best for you:

  1. Press the Windows logo key, then type "high contrast" in the search box. Your screen reader says: "High contrast settings, system settings."

  2. Press Enter. You hear: "Settings window, High contrast theme," followed by the name of the currently selected theme.

  3. Use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the high contrast themes until you find one that works for you.

  4. Press Tab until you hear "Apply button," then press Enter to activate the selected theme.

Use Tell Me

To find a command quickly, use Tell Me. To learn more about the Tell Me feature, watch this video: Using Tell Me to get things done quickly with a screen reader and keyboard.

To use Tell Me to find a command, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells where you want to perform an action.

  2. Jump to the Tell Me edit field by pressing Alt+Q.

  3. Type the command that you want. For example, type "bullets".

  4. Use the Down Arrow key to browse through the results, press Enter to select one.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

Use keyboard shortcuts to create your presentation

Basic tasks to create a presentation in PowerPoint with a screen reader

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

PowerPoint for Android includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations. For more information about accessibility settings and features that work in your device, refer to Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For touch capabilities in PowerPoint for Android, go to PowerPoint for Android touch guide.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Get to know the PowerPoint for Android layout

PowerPoint for Android opens by default in the Normal view. In this view, at the top in the middle, you can find the name of the document. Below the document name, there’s a menu bar with the following items from left to right:

  • File

Double-tapping the File button opens the File menu which contains the following buttons from top to bottom:

  • New

  • Open

  • Save

  • Save As

  • History

  • Print

  • Share

  • Close

  • Feedback

  • Office Apps

  • Slide show

Double-tapping the Slide show button opens the Slide show view which contains the following items and areas from top to bottom:

  • A menu bar with the following items from left to right:

    • Slide number indicator

    • Ink switch

    • Ink tools menu

    • Link screen switch

    • End show button

  • Slide show area

  • Notes area with switch to expand the area

  • Slides list

  • Add slide

  • Share

  • Undo

  • Double-tap Add slide to add a new slide in the presentation.

  • Double-tap Share to share your presentation.

  • Double-tap Undo to undo the last action.

Below the menu bar, you can find the main content area where the slides are visible. Drag one finger in this area to hear the slide numbers. Tap a slide to select it. Double-tap the slide, and you hear: “Edit button.” Double-tap the screen, and you enter the Editing view.

The Editing view contains the following items from top to bottom:

  • Top: Menu bar buttons

  • Back

  • More options

  • Notes

  • Share

  • Undo

Main content area

  • Shows a single editable slide

Bottom: Tell Me button, buttons on the context-sensitive menu bar, and Expand/Collapse switch

  • Tell Me

The buttons on the context-specific menu bar change depending on what is selected in the main content area (for example, a whole slide, a table, or a text box in the slide). By default, it contains the following items when the focus is on an entire slide:

  • Tell Me

  • Layout

  • Table

  • Picture

  • Shape

  • Text box

  • Camera

  • Undo

  • Expand/Collapse switch

Note:  Double-tapping these items opens menu for further options.

Double-tapping the Expand/Collapse switch opens or hides the Tab menu bar which contains the following items from left to right:

  • Tab menu list

  • Tell Me button

  • Undo button

  • Redo button

  • Expand/Collapse switch

The Tab menu list contains the following tabs:

  • Home

  • Insert

  • Draw

  • Design

  • Transitions

  • Slide Show

  • Review

  • View

Double-tapping the menu list items opens new editing options.

Use TalkBack screen reader, touch gestures, and external keyboard shortcuts

PowerPoint for Android works with the screen reader TalkBack. When TalkBack is on, you hear a spoken description of whatever you select or activate on your device. This includes commands, locations, lists, and buttons, in addition to the contents of PowerPoint screens, menus, and pop-up windows.

Turn on TalkBack

You can turn TalkBack on either when you set up your Android phone or later after the setup. You can also activate a shortcut for turning on TalkBack. For instructions, refer to Turn on TalkBack.

  1. To turn on TalkBack after setup, go to Settings > Accessibility.

  2. Tap TalkBack and tap the toggle switch to turn it on.

  3. Select OK.

Use global and local context menus

As you navigate using TalkBack, two context menus are available to help you find settings and controls. The global context menu contains commands that work anywhere. The local context menu commands depend on the focused item.

To learn more about the global and local context menu, refer to Use global and local context menus.

Use Tell Me

Use the Tell me search when you want to know about more options, quickly do a task, or check where an option or tab is located on the screen.

For more info on Tell Me, refer to Do things quickly with Tell Me.

  1. In the Editing view of your PowerPoint presentation, swipe left or right with one finger until you hear: “Tell me button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen with one finger. You hear: “Tell me what you want to do.”

  2. Swipe right until you hear: “Edit box, tell me what you want to do.” Then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Showing <keyboard language> keyboard.”

  3. To type a search word, slide your finger across the keyboard at the bottom of the screen until you hear the character you’d like to type, and then lift your finger. As you type, a list of search results opens.

  4. To browse the search results, swipe left or right with one finger. You hear the search results. Some results may have submenus with more choices. TalkBack announces search results with submenus. You hear: “<Search result> menu, double-tap to activate.” To open the menu, double-tap the screen.

  5. To choose a result, double-tap the screen.

Use PowerPoint for Android with speech recognition

Speech recognition tools can help you use voice commands to operate PowerPoint for Android instead of touch navigation or an external keyboard. For more information on how to download and turn on Voice Access app, refer to Get Started with Voice Access.

Zoom in or out

Zoom in to your presentation content, for example, to check a picture in a slide.

To zoom in to a slide, place two fingers on the screen and then slide them apart. To zoom back out, pinch your fingers together.

Let TalkBack read alt texts

To get an idea what an image, table, text box, or a shape in your presentation is all about, listen to their alternative texts (if available).

  1. To navigate to an object on a slide, swipe left or right until you hear: “<Alt text title> <object type> <alt text description>. ”Custom actions, launch context menu, double-tap to activate.”

  2. To move away from the object, swipe left or right.

Change color contrast and invert colors

To make the content easier to read and select, you can increase contrast or invert colors on your device.

Note: Changing color contrast and inverting colors are experimental features. They are not guaranteed to work with all buttons and surfaces.

  1. On any view, swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers. You hear: “Notification shade.” The notification area opens.

  2. Swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen. You hear the name of the option in focus.

  3. Swipe left or right until you hear: “Open Settings button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Settings.”

  4. Tap anywhere on the screen, and then swipe left or right until you hear: “Accessibility, double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Accessibility.”

  5. Do either or both of the following:

    • Swipe right until you hear: “High contrast text, experimental, off-switch, double-tap to activate.” Then double tap the item. You hear: “On.”

    • Swipe right until you hear: “Color inversion, experimental, may affect performance, off-switch, double-tap to activate.” Then double tap the item. You hear: “On.”

Create accessible PowerPoint presentations

You can format text boxes, shapes, tables, and images in PowerPoint for Android to make them more accessible to everyone. For tips on how to make a presentation accessible, refer to Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

Basic tasks to create a presentation in PowerPoint with a screen reader

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

PowerPoint Mobile includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the PowerPoint Mobile layout

When you open PowerPoint Mobile, in the top right corner of the opening view is the user account button. Below the button is the PowerPoint heading row. Below the heading row are the New and Browse buttons. Below the buttons, in the main content area, is a list of the presentations you've worked on recently.

Reading view

When you open a PowerPoint Mobile presentation or start to create a new one, the presentation is opened in the Reading view. The name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen. Below the name, on the left, is the File button. To the right of the button are the following buttons: Present, New slide, Share, and Undo.

All slides in a presentation are listed as thumbnails below the buttons.

Editing view

To move from the Reading view to the Editing view, double-tap the screen on the slide that you want to edit. You hear: "Custom." Swipe right until you hear "Context menu, Edit button," and then double-tap the screen. The Editing view opens. You hear: "Slide pane." The focus is on the main content area.

The name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen. Below the name to the left is the Back button. To the right of the button are the following buttons: Find, Notes, Present, and Undo.

Below the buttons is the main content area which takes up most of the space on the screen. The selected slide is displayed here.

Below the main content area, the Notes pane is displayed if activated.

Below the Notes pane or main content area is the context-sensitive quick access toolbar. It shows buttons related to the area or item that is currently selected on the slide in the main content area. The More options button is on the far right on the toolbar. Double-tapping the button opens the main menu below the main content area.

On top of the main menu is the menu bar. The current tab name is to the far left of the menu bar. The tab options are listed below the tab name. Double-tap the tab name to open the tab menu, showing all available tabs. To the right of the tab name on the menu bar, there are the following buttons: Tell Me, Undo, Redo, and More options (expanded).

To move from the Editing view to the Reading view, swipe right until you hear "Off, back button," and then double-tap the screen.

Navigate using touch

  • To navigate in PowerPoint Mobile and to cycle through screen elements, swipe left or right.

  • To select an item, double-tap the screen.

  • To browse within menus or lists, swipe left or right, and then, to make a selection, double-tap the screen.

  • To exit a context menu, quickly draw a Z-shape with two fingers.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

Basic tasks to create a presentation in PowerPoint with a screen reader

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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